HC Deb 24 April 1969 vol 782 cc642-3
25. Mr. Fortescue

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether, in the light of the recent statement by the Chairman of the Science Research Council, he will now make a statement about the possibility of British participation in the 300 GeV nuclear accelerator at C.E.R.N.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

I have nothing to add to the reply my right hon. Friend gave to my hon. Friend the Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) on 24th October last.—[Vol. 770, c. 328.]

Mr. Fortescue

Is there not every sign here of another first-class administrative muddle? The Chairman of the Science Research Council assumed in a public statement that we are going to join the C.E.R.N. project in two years. The Government say that there is no possibility of this and that, if it happens at all, participation must be put off indefinitely. Could the hon. Lady please give us some more definite statement, if only for the sake of the civil servants working at Nimrod, many of whose jobs will be put in jeopardy if we do join C.E.R.N.?

Mrs. Williams

The Government made a decision and have at no stage since that time changed their decision. However, we accept the freedom of choice of the scientific and academic community to express their own views, and, in a purely domestic lecture, the Chairman of the Science Research Council expressed a view which is well known to the House and which, in this respect, differs from that of the Government.